Glen Cove officials say that despite “disappointing” ridership numbers during the temporary ferry service to Manhattan that ended Sept. 1, they are confident the city will attract an operator for the long-planned restoration of year-round ferry service from Long Island.
The city had initially envisioned the summer ferries as a test run for long-term service. But with some boats traveling at less than 15 percent of capacity, and amid complaints from commuters about inconvenient and insufficient launch times, city officials and transportation experts now say the eight weeks of ferry commuting were a poor predictor of how popular permanent service could be.
“It can’t tell you anything about what full-level service would give you,” said Norman Garrick, a University of Connecticut engineering professor and expert on public transportation.
Successful public transportation gives riders choices and flexibility, and offering only one daily boat to and from each Manhattan destination — Wall Street and 34th Street — did not do that, said Garrick, currently a visiting professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority provided the ferry service from Glen Cove as an alternative to reduced…
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